The Magic of Mary Poppins at the Bristol Hippodrome – review by Claire de Sully

Upon learning that the Musical Mary Poppins was coming to Bristol, I felt an urge to go. The child in me and the child with me – my 7 year old – couldn't resist the draw of this timelessly beautiful piece of cinema history transported into a magical theatrical dimension. Disney and Cameron Mackintosh announced earlier in the year that they were bringing back Mary Poppins - the West End show - last staged 11 years ago.  Back then it ran for three years with more than 1,250 performances. The Read more [...]

Sensational revelations may put to rest the tragic relationship of 20th century’s enduring literary giants.

Wells festival of Literature audience is set to hear sensational revelations about one of 20th century literature’s enduring tragic relationships.   Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes – two literary giants – were married in 1956 until her suicide in 1963. The unanswered questions surrounding the demise of their emotionally charged relationship, leading to her death, has provided an afterlife in itself and was something Hughes spent half a lifetime trying to bury. Details of the yet unpublished Read more [...]

HMP Shepton Mallet: Who Cares? Guest blog by Alison Carroll

I am going to start with a confession. I have only lived in the area for 15 years. I have no historic connection to Shepton Mallet. I have no connection to HMP Shepton Mallet. Do I care about the future of the place? Yes, but only in the sense that I care that it is a listed building; a place with 400 years history; a place who’s redevelopment could influence Shepton Mallet’s future. Until last week I didn’t know why Claire Sully [1], founder of ‘Creating a Vision and Future for Read more [...]

Shepton Mallet Prison – If These Walls Could Speak. Guest blog by Alison Carroll

Much to my surprise the walls of the former HM Prison Shepton Mallet did speak to me on July 14th as I attended the second consultation event organised by City and Country ahead of the prison’s redevelopment. I was taken on a whirlwind tour of the exhibition and prison buildings by a very enthusiastic six year old (my son). It was hard to take it all in but towards the end the walls spoke. They urged me to slow down, stop, look, listen, learn. How was I to respond to the questions asked during Read more [...]
Harvey Bassett as Blowtorch - Nightflyer by Martin Malcolm

A Dark Night Out – Review of Nightflyer by Martin Malcolm

In his play Nightflyer Martin Malcolm has given young people a voice - yet it isn't pretty, it is remarkable. The setting is a typical end of week night out - could be any town or city centre really - this one is Bristol's city centre. So what should these teen-adults do when one of their mates has collapsed, is fitting, unable to stand and get the night bus home? As they hopelessly try to solve their problem, there is an edgy tension created by a body lying on the ground unconscious, vomiting Read more [...]

Shepton Mallet Prison – Public Consultation Begins

Shepton Mallet prison in Somerset - officially known as HMP Cornhill - has been home to thousands of convicts since opening its doors in 1610. On Wednesday, the current owners – heritage property developers City and Country – opened the prison gates to the public for an entirely different reason. City and Country, along with their partners PPS Group, rolled into the town to consult with local people about the prison. PPS Group describe themselves as “property PR specialists who can develop Read more [...]

The people’s bridge, a people’s play: Preview of “Walking the Chains”, written by ACH Smith and staged by Show of Strength, Passenger Shed, Bristol from Sunday Jan 11th to 25th

It has been a long time coming for someone to piece together the story behind one of the most audacious engineering feats the world has seen. The extraordinary tale of how Clifton Suspension Bridge came into being is told through ACH Smith’s words and Elizabeth Purnell’s toe tapping music, under the direction of Robin Belfield, to celebrate the bridges 150 year anniversary. Produced by Show of Strength – with creative producer Sheila Hannon, designer James Helps, and a multi-talented Read more [...]

Shepton Mallet Prison sale – hopes for the local community following the announcement of new owners

Shepton Mallet Prison was one of seven prison closures announced by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in January 2013 to save on running costs. The prison, established as a House of Correction in 1625, to comply with an Act of King James I in 1609, had cost the taxpayer more than £140,000 a year just to keep it mothballed. The buyer of the Shepton Mallet prison was revealed just before Christmas. City and Country, a development group specialising in the conversion of listed and historic buildings Read more [...]

Trouble in paradise — a problem for the “most beautiful beach on earth”. Drifters, written by Martin Malcolm, The Bike Shed Theatre, Review by Claire de Sully.

It is not often that I am short of words or unable to give an opinion. After watching Drifters, staged at the Bike Shed Theatre, I was dumbstruck as I turned to my companion with only a polite awkward smile as my saving grace. This was because the performance I had seen, just a short play, had made me feel so damn guilty to the point where I did not want to think about it, let alone express it. What I had seen, learnt, discovered, I felt responsible for. My companion was the writer of the piece, Read more [...]

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